Summary: Prepare your life for the final graduation, which is a commencement of new life whether in endless hope or hopeless end.
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Phi 1:21
On June 12, 2005, exactly today 11 years ago, Steve Jobs delivered a speech to the graduating class at Stanford University. So outstanding was his speech that many call the speech as the most memorable, best, life-changing and even legendary. And more than 24 million people viewed the speech on YouTube.
Among many stories he shared in the speech, I thought one story stood out explaining why Steve Jobs was so special and so successful. Since his age 17 until the very day of the speech as 50 years old man, for the past 33 years, without missing a single day, he looked at the mirror every morning and asked himself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And then whenever the answer had been “No” for too many days in a row, he knew he needed to change something. Isn’t it amazing that he questioned to himself such question every morning for 33 years and then made decisions accordingly?
Why did he keep reminding himself everyday for 33 years, “each day could have been the last day of his life?” This was his answer: “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”
Simply put it, “Live like you're dying so you may live doing what matters most”
So wise, Steve Jobs. Like Steve Jobs, the Bible also cautions us to be aware of the shortness of our lives: psalmist for example, said ‘Remember how fleeting is my life’ (Ps 89:47a) Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (ps 90:12)
LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is.
5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.” ps 39:4,5
Yet, with all the wisdom, discipline and success, he acknowledged his fear of death. He had been diagnosed as having incurable cancer, though later it turned out curable tumor and after the surgery he was fine, but, remembering the horror of having incurable cancer, he said he didn’t want such experience a few more decades.
He said “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there.” Though it sounds he even praised death as “ Life’s change agent which he said clears out the old to make way for the new.“ I could hear his desperate groaning “I want to live. I don’t want to die”
No one wants to die. This is why Jesus came in flesh and blood: “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”
8 days ago, I was in Dallas Texas, attending my uncle’s funeral service. Reminding me of the recent graduation ceremonies I attended, I thought it was like another type of graduation ceremony, namely final graduation.